Top 5 Shows and Movies Guaranteed to Lift Those January Blues

January is  rough month. The presents have started to get boring, the coffers are empty, and the good cheer has all but faded. Well, there’s only one thing for it! Slump on the sofa, switch on your TV and binge yourself into a cheerful stupor with our pick of the top 5 TV shows and movies guaranteed to turn your frown all the way around. Enjoy!

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel 

This two-time Golden Globe winning comedy series from Amazon is utterly charming and hilarious. From the producers of The Gilmore Girls one expects a lot of witty banter, strong characters, and pop culture references, and you get all of that set against the backdrop of late 1950s New York. Our titular character demonstrates her poise and wit from the moment she graces the screen, delivering an amusing toast at her own wedding. We already see that Miriam (Rachel Brosnahan) is just a natural in front of an audience and her journey from housewife who gets hammered and cracks a few jokes to a true comedian with a tight ten is full of ups and downs. Her father Abe (Tony Shaloub) is particularly frustrated with her antics, yet seems somehow helpless to stop her.

It’s interesting see how attitudes then and now differ. In one scene we see Miriam go to bed with a full face of make-up, only to sneak to the bathroom when her husband is asleep to take it off and then wake-up before him to doll herself up again. All of the characters are great and the interactions are fun to witness as Miriam manages struggles to manage life as a single woman after her husband leaves, while trying to nurture her nascent stand-up career. On the surface this period piece doesn’t feel like it would be a traditional binge in the same vein as Strangers Things or Orange is the New Black, but the story is so compelling that you can’t help but click to watch the next episode, and when you’re done you’ll be dying to know what season two has in store.

Available to stream through Amazon Prime.

Ashley Davis

Please Like Me

Josh gets dumped by his girlfriend, realises he’s gay and moves in with his psychologically disturbed Mum. In short, his life is an interesting (and for us entertaining) mess.

Please Like Me is a delightful show. It is chock full of interesting and colorful characters, and a simple plot that will get you past the darkness of winter. Homophobes STEP OFF! It is a story of friendship, stifled emotions, deeply messed up family, and complicated relationships. That said, it is beautifully filmed, and keeps itself in the light even through dark plot points. Have fun!

Available to stream through Amazon Prime.

Matthew Whitaker


I will admit that I was a bit dismissive of this sitcom when I first heard about it. I feared it would be another dorky show with unearned laughs. I was so glad to be wrong about it. Superstore is a workplace comedy set in a Big Box retailer akin to Wal-Mart called Cloud 9. The cast is a true ensemble with America Ferrera as Amy, who is a rule follower but wants to seem fun too, and Ben Feldman as Jonah, whose first day at Cloud 9 marks the start of the series. He’s pretentious in his tastes, but he means well. Their boss Glenn is played by Kids in the Hall alum Mark McKinney, and he is truly something else. Glenn is both simple minded and just so nice, it kind of surprising he’s a store manager. The stern, not quite sure if she gets social cues, assistant manager Dina is played by Lauren Ash. She manages to be awkward about everything, yet she has a kind of sweet side to her once you get to know her. Customer Service Rep/Store Announcer Garrett (Colton Dunn) is delightfully sarcastic. You get the feeling that he’s seen it all and just does not care anymore. Rounding out the ensemble are Cheyenne (Nichole Bloom) and Mateo (Nico Santos). Cheyenne is a teen mom who is smarter than she appears to be and Mateo is an ambitious worker who will stop at nothing to make himself look good. The ensemble cast has so much chemistry and the situations really feel like they come straight from actual retail employees’ experiences.

Having (barely) worked a retail job back in college, I certainly recognized a few annoyances we faced at our store: managers who seem utterly clueless about how the sales floor works, customers waiting until right before closing time to make a purchase, parents leaving kids to wander the store as if it were a playground, etc. The show really captures the feeling that develops when you work closely with a group of people and have to deal with absurd situations day in and day out. Even though it’s a comedy, there are situations where your heart strings are tugged just a tiny bit. Overall, it’s a fun weekly escape from reality that is never short on laughs.

Superstore is currently in it’s third season on NBC.

Ashley Davis

Parks and Recreation

Parks and Rec (as it’s known to the initiated) stars Amy Poehler as Leslie Knope, a well-meaning, ambitious, almost dangerously obsessive government employee who wants to make her beloved town of Pawnee a better place, and possibly be the first female President of the United States. But her colleagues, who love and even respect her, are not the most dynamic bunch, no matter how many binders full of intricately woven plans for success Leslie might throw at them.

Parks and Rec should undoubtedly be regarded as one of the all-time great sitcoms. True the first season or so were a bit rocky, but once Leslie’s boring love interest was jettisoned and Amy Poehler’s character was turned from a delusional figure of fun, into a smart, ambitious, now charmingly obsessive do-gooder, Parks and Rec really took off.

The show also stars a pre-Guardians of the Galaxy, pre-big muscles Chris Pratt, as the loveable doophus, Andy Dwyer; the truly wonderful Rashida Jones, as Leslie’s BFF (whether she likes it or not); the agelessly handsome Rob Lowe; Nick Offerman as Ron Swanson, whose line delivery is so dry he could start a forest fire. There’s also a pre-Master of None Aziz Ansari as the self-absorbed entrepreneur Tom Haverford, who’d prefer to launch a cologne named after himself than sit at his desk and do his job, and finally Aubrey Plaza as April, a socially dysfunctional Parks and Rec employee, whose good heart is somehow apparent despite her big staring eyes, and seeming dislike of everyone and everything.

Parks and Rec is conventional enough to be an easy, cheerful sitcom to wipe away those January blues, but it is also weird enough to surprise you, while making you laugh longer and harder than almost anything else out there. It’s sweet natured, with a sly subversive smirk.

Available to stream through Amazon Prime.

Steven Saunders

The Intern

Nancy Meyer’s is well known for shoving garbage down the collective throat of the world; we shouldn’t give her another chance. Well, this time she is STRONGER, BETTER, LESS ROM-COMEY! The Intern! Robert. Fu@#ing. De Niro, and Anne. Something. Hathaway. It is a delightful, feel good, forget the sadness of January, fun enough film. Robert plays Ben, a crusty old dude trying to come in from the grim reaper’s gaze and work at a start up. Something to do with clothes. He brings old school methods to a hipster filled office of assholes. In the end, we laugh, we cry, and we remember the De Niro of our younger days, as he plays a loveable man whose best might not be behind him, as he tries to make his way in the modern world. Have a look! It’s an unexpected pleasure.

Available to stream through Amazon Prime

Matthew Whitaker

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